Library DrawingThe CONNector

January 2002Volume 4 Number 1

The State Librarian's Column

Kendall WigginsKendall F. Wiggin
Connecticut State Librarian

It's human nature to use the opportunity of a new year to look back at the year just past and ahead to what might be. Looking back, as a country, 2001 will certainly be remembered as a turning point. The effects of September 11th and the subsequent war on terrorism have even been felt here at the State Library. For the first time in 92 years, visitors to the State Library and Supreme Court Building must now go through metal detectors. Guarding our priceless collections has always been important, but the events of September 11th have raised our consciousness to a new level. As a public librarian I have been very conflicted about the security measures that are being taken in our building, but I realize that our building is also home to the highest court in our state. It is my hope that at the local public library these kinds of measures will not be necessary. A symbol of our freedom is the freely accessible public library.

Every year is filled with turning points. Certainly not all are as momentous as September 11th . The launch of iCONN, the Connecticut Digital Library, was one of the more positive turning points in library service. For the first time in our state's history through a collaboration of public, school, academic and special libraries a level of equity has been reached in the periodical collections of all libraries in the state. The challenge for the year ahead is to maintain and grow this wonderful resource. We also reached a turning point when the State Library was given the authorization to find a private company to take over the delivery of library materials statewide. The transformation of CCAR from a State Library operated service to a private service administered by the State Library should be completed this year.

Last year saw the first grants to municipalities under the Historic Documents Preservation Fund program. The program marks a major turning point in the preservation of local government records. Looking ahead, a record million dollars will be available for grants under this program in the coming year. This investment will insure access to the historic record of our towns and cities by future generations.

How quickly fortunes can change in a year. The State began the year with a record surplus, but by year's end budget reductions were being made to stem a growing deficit. Looking ahead to the upcoming session of the General Assembly, it is clear that tough decisions will have to be made. Maintaining the strength and vitality of the State Library and libraries throughout the state will be a priority for all librarians.

It doesn't take a crystal ball so see that the year ahead will bring continued change. Much of it we will have no control over. But whenever we can, we need to speak up for quality library service for all of our citizens.

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